how to be an expressivist about truth

Save this PDF as:
Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "how to be an expressivist about truth"

Transcription

1 Mark Schroeder University of Southern California March 15, 2009 how to be an expressivist about truth In this paper I explore why one might hope to, and how to begin to, develop an expressivist account of truth that is, a semantics for true and false within an expressivist framework. I do so for a few reasons: because certain features of deflationism seem to me to require some sort of nondescriptivist semantics, because of all nondescriptivist semantic frameworks which are capable of yielding definite predictions rather than consisting merely of hand-waving, expressivism is that with which I am most familiar, and because I believe that certain problems about truth and particularly about paradox seem to me to look different, when seen through the lens of an expressivist theory. I don t mean to defend such a theory in this paper, and indeed I have cast doubts on the ultimate prospects of the framework I will be employing here elsewhere. 1 But I do think that seeing what an expressivist theory of truth would look like helps to shed light on both expressivism and on truth. 1.1 intersubstitutability I ll first motivate the expressivist treatment of truth by consideration of two different issues about truth, one having to do with intersubstitutability, and one having to do with the psychological attitude of rejection. Intersubstitutability first; here the problems with truth start with the observation that on the assumption that the meaning of a sentence S is that P, S is true seems, at least at first glance, to be substitutable pretty much anywhere for P, and conversely. On the face of it, this observation is precisely what we need in order to get the full usefulness out of the truth predicate as a device of generalization, 2 but it is also sufficient to raise the spectre of paradox, in connection with sentences like Liar: Liar: Liar is not true. 1 Schroeder [2008], especially chapter See, for example, Gupta [2005] and Field [2008], especially chapter 13. I won t be concerned in this paper to defend full intersubstitutability; I ll simply be concerned with what it would take to capture it. 1

2 paradox. 3 Some theorists about truth, who are persuaded of the force of the reasons why we should want full By stipulation, Liar says of itself that it is not true so it seems indisputable that the meaning of Liar is that Liar is not true. So Liar is true should be substitutable everywhere for Liar is not true. Now all it takes to raise a problem is to assume that Liar is true just in case Liar is true. Once we assume that much, intersubstitutability leads us to the conclusion that Liar is true just in case Liar is not true, which reeks of intersubstitutability, argue that any solution to the paradox must work by finding a reading of the conditional, Liar is true just in case Liar is not true, which we can comfortably accept without that allowing us to derive an outright contradiction, as in Liar is true and Liar is not true. 4 These theorists argue, in effect, that we can t have full intersubstitutability without this consequence. There are two ways in which this reasoning can work. The first proceeds, as we did above, by assuming that Liar is true just in case Liar is true, and then to apply intersubstitutability to this biconditional. However, this reasoning is problematic. Even without this assumption, intersubstitutability means that if we accept Liar is true, we are committed to accepting Liar is not true, and if we accept Liar is not true, we are committed to accepting Liar is true. So the obvious conclusion is that the only rational course is to accept neither. And if you are committed to neither accepting Liar is true nor Liar is not true, you shouldn t accept Liar is true or Liar is not true, either for that s what allows the reasoning by cases to get started, which leads to a contradiction. But on its material conditional reading, Liar is true just in case Liar is true is equivalent to Liar is true or Liar is not true. So of course you can t accept that. So unless there is some different reading of the biconditional on which it does not entail the material biconditional, you simply shouldn t accept Liar is true just in case Liar is true, to begin with. So this line of reasoning provides no real reason to think that you must accept the paradox-inducing biconditional, Liar is true just in case Liar is not true. The line of reasoning that remains, then, argues that we need some sort of biconditional in order to be able to articulate the force of intersubstitutability. Theorists who pursue this line hold that we need to have some sort of conditional in English which is able to articulate intersubstitutability, of the form: T-schema If S means that P, then S is true just in case P. 3 On the assumption that Liar is true, it leads us to the conclusion that Liar is not true, and on the assumption that Liar is not true, it leads us to the conclusion that Liar is true. So reasoning by cases forces us to conclude that Liar is true and Liar is not true an outright contradiction. 4 See, for example, Gupta [2005] and Field [2008]. 2

3 On this view, the reason why S is true and P are intersubstitutable conditional on the assumption that S means that P, is that from S means that P and T-schema, we can derive the biconditional S is true just in case P, and it is that biconditional which licenses intersubstitutability. Of course, this can t be a material biconditional, nor indeed any conditional which entails the material biconditional, because one instance of T-schema is the following: T-Liar If Liar means that Liar is not true, then Liar is true just in case Liar is not true. The assumption of this line of reasoning, is that to articulate intersubstitutability, we need to be able to somehow lexicalize the way that, if you accept that the meaning of S is that P, accepting P commits you to accepting S is true and conversely and specifically that we need to do so by using a conditional, which would lead us to endorse every instance of some conditional like T-schema (on the proper interpretation of the conditional). This particular line of reasoning appears to have launched quite a large research project in the technical literature on truth the search for a conditional weaker than the material conditional, so that we can accept P iff ~P without being led to accept P&~P. It plays a particularly large role in the work of, for example, Anil Gupta and Hartry Field. But I m skeptical. What I want to understand better, is whether there isn t a better way of capturing full intersubstitutability than actually endorsing every instance of T-schema. As we ll see later on, an expressivist semantic framework is suited to explain intersubstitutability without requiring us to be able to endorse every instance of anything like T-schema. The special status of T-schema won t be that we are committed to accepting all of its instances, but rather that we are committed to not denying any of them. All of this is compatible with the idea that we may reject some instances. So it is to rejection that I now turn. 1.2 rejection If you don t believe that Liar is true, and you don t believe that Liar is not true, what are you to do? If there is no proposition expressed by Liar, then the answer may seem to be simple: there is nothing to believe. But that answer is no good. If there is no such thing as the proposition that Liar is true to believe, and no such thing as the proposition that Liar is not true to believe, then there must not be any such thing as the proposition that Liar is true and Liar is not true to believe, either, and so you are safe from believing 3

4 any contradiction, even if you accept and are willing to assert and act on both Liar is true and Liar is not true. If only things were so easy! The thesis that Liar does not express a proposition also runs into the problem that many liarparadoxical sentences are only contingently paradoxical. Take, for example, the following sentence: Contingent Liar The only sentence written on the whiteboard in Hartry Field s office is not true. If it so turns out that Contingent Liar is the only sentence written on the whiteboard in Hartry Field s office, then this sentence is liar-paradoxical; if not, then not. But it hardly seem plausible that there should be such a thing as the proposition that the only sentence written on the whiteboard in Hartry Field s office is not true, which can even be expressed on the whiteboard in Hartry Field s office, but which goes out of existence as soon as everything else is erased from the whiteboard. Indeed, there is direct evidence against this; for even if this is the only thing written on Hartry Field s whiteboard, people who do not know or suspect this may wonder whether the only sentence written on the whiteboard in Hatry Field s office is not true, and may believe or disbelieve that the only sentence written on the whiteboard in Hatry Field s office is not true. If this is something that they believe, then any reason to think that belief is a relation to propositions will carry over to this case. So if propositions are the objects of belief, we should conclude that there really are paradoxical propositions, in cases like this one. So if there really is a proposition expressed by the liar, what attitude should you take toward it? Believing it leads to paradox, denying it (in the sense of believing its negation) also leads to paradox. So what should you do? The obvious answer is: you should reject this proposition. If there is a third attitude of rejection that it makes sense to have toward a proposition which is an alternative to both belief and belief in its negation, then that is the right one to take to the proposition expressed by Liar, and in general toward other such paradoxical propositions. I will have more to say in a little bit about what sort of attitude rejection might be, but for now it suffices to observe that given that liar-paradoxical sentences really do express propositions, it would be very nice to hope that there is such an attitude which it makes sense to take toward those propositions an alternative to believing them and believing their negations, which doesn t amount to merely being unsure about them. 4

5 So far, so conventional many authors have advocated rejection as an appropriate response to Liar. 5 But just as in the last section we saw that some philosophers have thought it imperative to be able to articulate intersubstitutability by being able to lexically express it with a conditional, some philosophers have thought it important to be able to lexicalize rejection, by being able to articulate it with a special meaning of not. Take, for example, the recent approach of Mark Richard [2008], who believes that in addition to the ordinary, truth-conditional not, which allows someone who believes that Liar is not true to express her view by saying, Liar is not true, there is a special sense of not which allows someone who rejects the proposition 6 that Liar is true by saying, Liar is not* true. Lexicalizing rejection, however, is deeply problematic. Once we lexicalize rejection (as Richard recognizes), that gives rise to paradoxes of revenge, by providing us with ways to formulate new paradoxical sentences, whose contents it is just as paradoxical to reject as to either believe or believe their negations. For example: Liar s Revenge Liar s Revenge is not true or Liar s Revenge is not* true. If you accept Liar s Revenge and understand what it means, then by intersubstitutability you are committed to accepting that Liar s Revenge is true which in turn allows you to infer by disjunctive syllogism that Liar s Revenge is not* true i.e., which commits you to rejecting Liar s Revenge. If you accept the negation of Liar s revenge, then by intersubstitutability you are committed to accepting that Liar s Revenge is not true, and hence to accepting Liar s Revenge a contradiction. And if you reject Liar s Revenge, then you accept Liar s Revenge is not* true which commits you to accepting Liar s Revenge. So there is no consistent attitude, out of the trio of acceptance, rejection, and acceptance of the negation, for you to take toward Liar s Revenge. So if Liar s Revenge really expresses a proposition and analogous reasoning to the foregoing will lead to the conclusion that it does that leaves the question of what to do with this proposition unanswered, unless we postulate yet a further kind of attitude, rejection-prime, to have toward this proposition. Richard [2008] (for example) happily marches off of this cliff, but I m not so sure; just as the problem about intersubstitutability arose from the idea that we had to be able to lexicalize the commitment relationship involved in intersubstitutability with a conditional, this problem arises from the idea that we 5 For recent discussions, see particularly Field [2008] and Richard [2008]. 6 Richard wouldn t use the word proposition here, but I ll use it for consistency. Richard also prefers denial as a name for rejection, although he goes back and forth. 5

6 have to be able to or even can lexicalize rejection, in the sense that there is a sentence which it makes sense to endorse just in case you reject the proposition that P. 1.3 two observations, and the link to expressivism There are two important observations to be made, here. The first is that both the question of intersubstitutability and the idea that liar-paradoxical sentences are ones that it makes sense to reject are theses about the rationality of mental states. Intersubstitutability says that you are committed to having the same attitude to the propositions expressed by P and by S is true, conditionally on accepting or at least not denying that the meaning of S is that P. And the idea about rejection is that rejection is the attitude that it makes rational sense to have toward liar-paradoxical propositions. If there is a semantic framework which ought to be in the best position to be able to articulate these ideas, it would be expressivism, whose central idea is that a semantic theory should work by associating each sentence, P, with what it is to think that P, and whose treatment of logical inference works directly by articulating rational commitment relationships between mental states. The second important observation to be made, here, is that both the issues about intersubstitutability and the issues about rejection turn on the question of what sorts of things we should be able to lexicalize, and how. The problem about intersubstitutability arises from the idea that if each of us is in the position of being rationally committed to having the same attitude toward P and toward S is true, conditionally on accepting (or at least not denying) that the meaning of S is that P, then there must be some sentence, T, which expresses that state of conditional commitment, which we are all committed to accepting. Similarly, the problem about rejection arises from the idea that if you reject some proposition, that P, there must be some sentence, R, which expresses that state of rejection. Within an expressivist framework, it is easy to question both of these assumptions expressivism is founded on the importance of the distinction between expressing a mental state, and reporting that you are in it, and much contemporary work on expressivism has provided very strong reasons to think that not just any mental state is one that it is possible to express with a sentence. 7 To say that we are all in a state of being rationally committed to having the same attitude toward P and toward S is true, conditionally on 7 On the significance of the distinction between expressing and reporting, see chapter 2 of Schroeder [2008]. For the importance of the idea that not all mental states are ones that it is possible to express, see Gibbard [2003], especially chapter 4. In Gibbard s framework, all and only mental states with which it is possible to disagree can be expressed by indicative sentences; for justification of a yet-more-restrictive account of which states can be expressed by sentences, see chapters 3-8 of Schroeder [2008]. 6

7 accepting (or at least not denying) that the meaning of S is that P is to report a state that we are in, and quite different from expressing that state. Indeed, there may be no sentence at all not even a possible sentence which expresses that state, in which case there would be no way of putting the T-biconditional that we would all be committed to accepting. Similarly, to say that you reject the proposition expressed by Liar is to report on your mental state, and is quite different from expressing that state. Indeed, there may be no sentence at all which expresses that state, in which case there would be no way of framing Liar s Revenge, which would require some response other than rejection. 8 At any rate, these observations make me interested in the hypothesis that the state of conditional commitment described by full intersubstitutability and the attitude of rejection are states which can be reported, but which cannot be expressed by natural-language sentences, and in the idea that this can be fruitfully explored within an expressivist framework. In the next section I ll briefly motivate a certain abstract perspective on both of these issues which is neutral between different detailed expressivist frameworks, and then in the remainder of the paper I ll illustrate how these ideas can be made good on in a rigorous way within the semantic framework of biforcated attitude semantics, developed in Schroeder [2008]. 1.4 a simple framework: commitment theory Start with the idea that there are three committed attitudes which it is possible to take to a proposition: acceptance, rejection and denial, and assume both that denying p is just accepting p s negation, and that rejecting p and rejecting ~p are the same state. Assume that each pair of these three attitudes toward p are rationally inconsistent, in the sense that Allan Gibbard [2003] calls disagreement: for any two thinkers, if they bear two different of these three attitudes toward the same proposition, then they disagree with one another. Let us say, further, that if you are in a state of mind which disagrees with two of these three attitudes toward a proposition p, then you are committed to the third attitude toward p. This framework allows us to think of the strong Kleene tables as commitment tables, rather than truth-tables, in the sense that given the attitudes that a speaker has toward some propositions, they tell us what commitment that speaker is committed to having toward other propositions. For example, take the case of negation: 8 Compare, for example, the attitude of doubt. There need be no sentence, Q, such that doubting that P is equivalent to thinking that Q. The same thing may go for rejection. 7

8 P ~P A D R R D A The first line of this commitment table tells us that if you accept P, then you are committed to denying ~P, in the sense that your state of mind disagrees with both that of rejecting ~P and that of accepting ~P. These facts follow from our assumptions: rejecting ~P is the same state as rejecting P, and we assumed that accepting P disagrees with rejecting P. So accepting P disagrees with rejecting ~P. We also assumed that accepting ~P is the same state as denying P, and we assumed that accepting P disagrees with denying P. So accepting P disagrees with accepting ~P. Hence, by the definition of commitment, someone who accepts P is committed to denying ~P, as the first line of the commitment table indicates. Similar observations go for the other lines the commitment table is simply a clear and clean way of articulating these assumptions and exhibiting their properties. Note that this is a commitment table, not a truth table. The table tells us nothing about the semantic status of P or of ~P; it only tells us which combinations of attitudes toward P and ~P avoid the kind of inconsistency involved with disagreeing with oneself. But a similar table can be constructed for & : P Q A A A R A D R A R R R D D A D R D D P&Q A R D R R D D D D Again, this table tells us what attitude someone is committed to having toward P&Q, on the basis of the attitudes she has toward P and toward Q. This time, the properties of the table cannot be derived solely from our assumptions; but they do follow from plausible assumptions about disagreement and conjunction for example, all of the D lines for P&Q follow from the assumption that denying either P or Q disagrees with either accepting or rejecting P&Q. Again, this is not a truth table. It is simply a commitment table telling us which combinations of attitudes avoid self-disagreement. 8

9 The assumption that these are the right commitment tables for ~ and & is sufficient to guarantee two important results, on the basis of familiar facts about the strong Kleene tables. The first of these is that every theorem of classical logic is undeniable, in the sense that there is no rationally consistent set of attitudes which involves denying it. The second of these is that modus ponens using the material conditional ( P Q defined to mean ~(P&~Q) ) takes you from propositions that you accept only to propositions that you are already committed to accepting so it preserves commitment. 9 These facts are not quite enough for it to follow that all classically valid rules of inference preserve commitment, because arbitrary classical theorems follow from arbitrary assumptions, and under these assumptions, one need not be committed to accepting arbitrary classical theorems only to not denying them. But they are sufficient to explain why all classically valid rules are commitment-preserving for anyone who accepts P ~P for each atom P. So any theory which is in a position to explain these commitment tables is in a position to explain all of these things about the relationship between what thinkers are committed to and classical logic. A fruitful way to think about the aspirations of an expressivist semantic theory is through the lens of commitment theory, whose main ideas I have been sketching here. An expressivist semantics will aspire to say, for each sentence P, what it is to accept that P, what it is to reject that P, and what it is to deny that P, on the basis of compositional rules which have the following consequence: that the rule for ~ predicts the commitment table for ~ and the rule for & predicts the commitment table for &. A similar aspiration would go for an expressivist account of truth: there would be some commitment table for TRUE, and it would be the aspiration of the expressivist theory to say, for each sentence P involving TRUE, what it is to think that P, in such a way that the commitment table for TRUE would be predicted by that account. The commitment table for a sentential truth predicate TRUE should look like this: 9 The first of these facts follows from the result that LP, the logic resulting from the choice of both A and R as designated values, has the same theorems as classical logic. The second follows from the result that K 3, the logic resulting from choice of only A as the designated value in the strong Kleene scheme, validates modus ponens. See, for example, Avron [1993] for proofs and discussion. 9

10 P S means that P TRUE(S) A A A R A R D A A R D A R R R D R D A D R D D D Again, note that this is not a truth table. What it tells us, is that for any sentence P, someone who either accepts or rejects that S means that P is committed to having the same attitudes toward P and toward S is true. In other words, it articulates the idea of full intersubstitutability. As we should expect, two very nice things follow from this commitment table for TRUE, along with the commitment tables for ~ and &. The first is that if we use the material conditional, then T- Schema is rationally undeniable: T-Schema MEANS(S,THAT(P)) (TRUE(S) P) So even though we needn t accept every instance of T-Schema, on this picture, that doesn t mean that T- Schema is irrelevant; on the contrary, because of the commitment table for TRUE, T-Schema is exceptionlessly undeniable that is, it has the very same status as the theorems of classical logic. Nothing rationally commits us to accepting every instance of them, either, if we reject their atoms, and in that respect T-Schema still has a privileged status. 10 The second very nice thing which follows from the commitment tables, is that if you accept that Liar means that Liar is not true, you are committed to rejecting both Liar and T-Liar, the corresponding instance of T-Schema. This is as should be expected. In this section I ve sketched in a rudimentary and quick way some of the basic ideas of commitment theory, which gives us a fruitful way of talking about the rational relationships between the different attitudes that we might take toward sentences, or toward the propositions which they express. Commitment theory gives us all of the resources that we need, in order to be able to articulate both the thesis of full intersubstitutability and the diagnosis that the right response to Liar is to reject it, as well as 10 Compare Tappenden [1993], who suggests that T-sentences are guaranteed by the meaning of true not to be false; the idea being developed here can be thought of as a paracomplete analogue of Tappenden s theory. 10

11 to explain why T-schema exerts pull and seems to play an important role in every single instance, even though not every instance is acceptable. 11,12 In part 2 I ll connect commitment theory to expressivism, by showing how an expressivist framework can both predict each of these commitment tables and explain why there is no way of lexicalizing rejection of forming a sentence which expresses, rather than reports, the state of rejecting some proposition. 2.1 expressivist semantics As I noted above, an expressivist semantics works by associating each sentence, P, with what it is to think that P. I think of it as a kind of assertability-conditional semantics, where instead of the assertability conditions of a sentence being some features of the world, the assertability conditions are always that the speaker be in the appropriate mental state. This corresponds to the idea that if someone who falsely thinks that P asserts P, the mistake that she makes is one about the world, rather than in her semantic grasp of the language. The assertability conditions set out by an expressivist theory are the ones which track the conditions under which a sincere speaker does not make a mistake in her semantic grasp of the language. So conceived, expressivism is a kind of nondescriptivist semantic theory. It is sometimes said that nondescriptivists like expressivists do not really believe in propositions, or have only a deflationary conception of propositions at least for the special domain of which they seek to provide a distinctively nondescriptivist account. But I prefer not to think of things this way. Instead, I prefer to think of expressivism as divorcing two sets of theoretical roles for propositions. One set of theoretical roles for propositions is to be the bearers of truth and falsity and objects of attitudes like belief, desire, and assertion. But propositions are also often said to play a role in carving up the world at its joints, to be connected in some way to metaphysical commitments, and to be the appropriate objects of excluded middle. My suggestion is that we think of expressivism as divorcing these two theoretical roles for propositions. I ll reserve the word proposition for whatever entities are the objects of the attitudes and the bearers of truth and falsity, and I ll use the word representational content for whatever entities carve 11 Compare, for example, Eklund [2002] and Tappenden [1993] on the unrestricted pull of T-Schema. 12 Commitment theory contrasts fruitfully, I think, with the constrained approach of standard three-valued logic, which washes out much of the information available from the strong Kleene tables by forcing a false choice between which values are to count as designated. If the only information that we can glean from the tables is fixed by the choice of designated values, then we would have to choose between whether the tables allow us to capture the theorems of classical logic, and whether they allows us to capture the idea that modus ponens is valid the former but not the latter holds for LP, in which A and R are both designated, and the latter but not the former holds for K 3, in which only A is designated. In commitment theory, in contrast, we can say something informative about both the theorems of classical logic and the validity of modus ponens: the theorems are undeniable, and modus ponens preserves commitment. 11

12 up the world at its joints, are connected with metaphysical commitments, and are the appropriate objects of excluded middle. The main idea of expressivism, then, and indeed of any nondescriptivist framework which accepts this divorce, is that every indicative sentence can be associated with some proposition, but some cannot be associated with a corresponding representational content. The sentences which cannot be associated with any representational content are the nondescriptive sentences of the language. Expressivism about truth is the idea that sentences involving the word true are nondescriptive. Contrasting with nondescriptive sentences are ordinary descriptive sentences, which correspond to both a proposition and a representational content. For example, if part of the structure of reality, when the world is carved up at its joints, is that green is a way that grass may or may not be, then grass is green will correspond to both the proposition that grass is green and the representational content of grass s being green. It is natural to think of the ordinary descriptive belief that grass is green as a single state which can be alternately thought of as a relation to either of these objects. This is possible, if ordinary descriptive belief has the sort of structure illustrated by the following two diagrams: descriptive case nondescriptive case belief representational belief belief A ( B ( C ) ) A ( D ) proposition representational content proposition If all belief involves an attitude, A, toward propositions, and some propositions are themselves constituted by a relation or property, B, toward or of representational contents, then so long as we stick to the descriptive case, there will be a way of describing the very same state either as a relation toward propositions, or as a relation toward representational contents. If the descriptive case is the paradigm case, and this is really the structure of belief, then it would be no wonder that we could easily have confused propositions with representational contents. But if this is really the structure of belief, then there may also be a second, nondescriptive, case, in which the proposition does not itself involve a relation to any representational content. This is a useful way of understanding the basic structure of belief according to biforcated attitude semantics, the expressivist framework developed in Schroeder [2008]. 12

13 The basic building block of biforcated attitude semantics is an attitude toward properties that I call being for, and which I assume to have the property that two states of being for disagree with one another, in Gibbard s sense, just in case their objects are inconsistent properties. I think of the state of being for as one which, when other things are equal, makes one who is in it come to acquire the property that is its object but nothing about the basic structure of biforcated attitude semantics turns on this. The generic attitude of belief the one that takes propositions, rather than representational contents is constructed out of a pair of states of being for, one of whose objects is strictly stronger than the other. 13 Such a state I call a biforcated attitude, for obvious reasons. Propositions, in this framework, are just pairs of properties, 14 one of which is strictly stronger than the other, and the belief relation is just the relation of being for each member of the pair. Representational belief, in biforcated attitude semantics, is assumed to be a special case of a biforcated attitude. To see which case this is, we need to appeal to the relation of proceeding as if, which I take to be a relation between agents and representational contents. Intuitively, an agent proceeds as if some representational content just in case she takes it as settled in deciding what to do. The only assumption about proceeding as if which I require, however, is that proceeding as if p is incompatible with proceeding as if ~p. It follows from this that for each representational content, p, there is a pair of properties, consisting of the property of proceeding as if p and the property of not proceeding as if ~p, and that this pair of properties is a proposition. Being for each property in such a pair is what it is to have an ordinary representational belief whose object is p. So on this picture, ordinary representational belief is just one special case of a broader class of states, and propositions associated with representational contents are just one special case of a broader class of propositions. 2.2 connectives, rejection, and logic in biforcated attitude semantics It is easy to define both the connectives and rejection in biforcated attitude semantics. For any proposition, P, there is a pair of properties consisting of the negations of each property in P. It is easy to see that this pair also has one member which is strictly stronger, so it is a proposition. We define it to be the negation of P. Moreover, for any two propositions, P and Q, there is a pair of properties consisting of the conjunction of the stronger members of each of P and Q, and the conjunction of the weaker members 13 The assumption that one is strictly stronger is new here; I did not assume this in Schroeder [2008]. 14 In Schroeder [2008] I used proposition as a word for what I here call representational contents, and only briefly in chapter 11, raised the question of whether it 13

14 of each of P and Q. It is easy to see that this pair also has one member which is strictly stronger, and hence that it is a proposition. We define it to be the conjunction of P and Q. To connect up biforcated attitude semantics with commitment theory, we may identify acceptance with belief, and denial with belief in the negation. Rejection is also easy to define; to reject P is to be for the weaker member of each of P and ~P. It is straightforward to derive the properties we assumed in section 1.4 about acceptance, rejection, and denial, from our assumption that two states of being for disagree with one another just in case their objects are inconsistent properties. It is also straightforward to observe that no state of rejection is identical to any biforcated attitude, and hence that no state of rejection is identical to any belief. So if all sentences express biforcated attitudes, there will be no sentence which expresses a state of rejection. That is, rejection cannot be lexicalized in biforcated attitude semantics making good on one of the observations with which we began. These assumptions also suffice, straightforwardly, to predict the commitment tables for & and ~, which the reader may either verify for herself or consult chapter eight of Schroeder [2008]. Consequently, biforcated attitude semantics constitutes a framework with flexibility to allow for both descriptive and nondescriptive atomic sentences, either of which incorporates equally well into a single, unified picture of the mental states expressed by complex sentences, and which predicts the rational relationships among all of these sentences, as well as their relationship to those sentences intuitive logical properties, as spelled out in section 1.4. This, I believe, is the basic thing that we should expect from any viable nondescriptivist semantics, including an expressivist one. 2.3 predicates of propositions in biforcated attitude semantics Because biforcated attitude semantics treats propositions as pairs of properties, it has a candidate available to be the subject of predicates like believes that, said that, means that and it is true that. This is an important improvement over approaches which allow only deflationary talk about propositions, because it allows for straightforward quantification into the propositional argument place. We may easily accommodate this by treating believes, said, means and it is true as predicates of propositions, and treating that as an operator which takes a sentential complement and denotes a proposition (relative to an assignment to the unbound variables in the complement, if there are any). This is, of course, not an unfamiliar idea, save that in the framework of biforcated attitude semantics, we have a different (and surprising) underlying picture of what propositions are like. 14

15 In what follows, I ll assume that the first three of these are descriptive predicates, and that true is a nondescriptive predicate. What that means, again, in biforcated attitude semantics, is that atomic sentences formed using the first three predicates express what I ve here called representational beliefs. Since belief is a relation between an agent and a pair of properties one of which is stronger than the other constituted by the agent being for each property in the pair, the proposition that x believes y will be the pair of properties consisting of the property of proceeding as if x is for each of the properties in y, and the property of not proceeding as if x is not for each of the properties in y. Similarly, assuming that we want S means that P to report, essentially, that the proposition expressed by S is the proposition that P, the proposition that x means y will be the pair of properties consisting of the property of proceeding as if the proposition expressed by x is identical to y and the property of not proceeding as if the proposition expressed by x is not identical to y. Similar moves suffice to deal with said. 15 If true is to be a nondescriptive predicate of propositions, then atomic sentences involving true may express any pair of properties of which one is strictly stronger. But only some choices of such a pair allow us to predict the commitment tables for true. Here is one: for any proposition, y, consider the pair of properties consisting of the property of instantiating the stronger member of y and the property of instantiating the weaker member of y. Since the stronger member of y is strictly stronger than its weaker member, the property of instantiating the stronger member of y is strictly stronger than the property of instantiating the weaker member of y. So this pair is a proposition. Let it be the proposition that y is true. This account allows us to predict the following commitment table for propositional truth: P A R D TRUE(THAT(P) A R D This follows from the fact that the stronger member of the proposition that P is equivalent to the property of instantiating it, and the weaker member of the proposition that P is equivalent to the property of instantiating it. With these results in hand, all we have to do in order to derive the commitment table for the sentential truth predicate exhibited in section 1.4, is to define the sentential truth of S in the ordinary way as the truth of the x such that S means x. (Actually, doing this requires that we have explicitly 15 See chapter 11 of Schroeder [2008] for discussion. 15

16 introduced quantifiers into our expressivist object language, which I ve omitted here for brevity s sake, but that is the basic idea.) In other words, this shows how an expressivist framework can give a nondescriptivist account of truth which achieves the principal virtues catalogued when we began: it can explain full intersubstitutability, and indeed explain the pull of every instance of T-Schema, without actually going so far as to endorse every such instance. It does this because it describes the commitment relationship codified by full intersubstitutability even though there is no conditional sentence which is capable of expressing this commitment relationship. And it makes good on the idea that the right response to liar-paradoxical sentences is to reject them indeed, it is a theorem of the theory that anyone who accepts that Liar means that Liar is not true is committed to rejecting Liar. Moreover, no problem akin to Liar s Revenge arises, because the theory explains why it is not possible to lexicalize rejection, and so nothing like Liar s Revenge is expressible. Finally, this theory provides a deflationary resolution to the paradoxes, by explaining why it is that there is nothing that we are missing out on, by rejecting Liar, rather than accepting or denying it. For on this theory, it is not propositions which play a role in carving up the world at its joints and consequently as the appropriate objects of excluded middle, but representational contents. For each representational content, the world must either be some way such that that representation content obtains, or such that it does not. So if we reject a sentence like grass is green, which corresponds not only to proposition, but to a representational content, we miss out on something something that we could have come to realize about the world, if we hadn t rejected. In contrast, no sentence involving true corresponds directly to a representational content. Some sentences involving true the grounded ones do have the feature that if we reject them, we will be committed to rejecting some ordinary descriptive sentence, and hence to missing out on some feature of the world. But other sentences involving true the ungrounded ones are ones such that rejecting them does not make us miss out on anything. 2.4 revenge after all? Now, I ve made a big deal out of the fact that if rejection cannot be lexicalized, in the sense that there is no sentence of the language which expresses a state of rejection in the way that ordinary sentences express states of belief, then the problems associated with Liar s Revenge do not arise. Yet you might rightly be 16

17 skeptical. Isn t it well known that every response to the liar paradox is subject to paradoxes of revenge? Shouldn t there be some way of doing something equivalent, even though we can t lexicalize rejection? This thought is more sharply put in the following way: the theory that I ve been discussing makes a recommendation about what to do to liar-paradoxical sentences. It says that you are rationally committed to rejecting them (assuming that you understand what they mean). So here is something that we obviously can lexicalize, insofar as we are able to formulate this theory: the feature of being such that anyone who understands you is rationally committed to rejecting you. Let s call this rejectable, for short. Shouldn t we then be able to do with rejectable what we could do with not*? The revenge sentence would look like this: Attempted Revenge Attempted Revenge is rejectable or Attempted revenge is not true. If you deny Attempted Revenge, then you are committed to accepting that Attempted Revenge is both not rejectable and not not true i.e., that it is true. And hence, if you understand what Attempted Revenge means, you will be committed to accepting it. So you can t consistently deny it. So far, this sounds just like the ordinary paradox of revenge. However, if you accept Attempted Revenge, and you understand what it means, then you will be committed to accepting that Attempted Revenge is true. But from Attempted Revenge and the assumption that Attempted Revenge is true, it follows that Attempted Revenge is rejectable. So if you accept Attempted Revenge, you will be committed to thinking that it is rejectable i.e., that you are rationally committed to rejecting it. This is not the same as being committed to rejecting it. Both accepting and rejecting the same sentence involves the kind of self-inconsistency Gibbard calls disagreement. Accepting a sentence that you think you rationally ought to reject involves a different sort of incoherence it is more like believing that you are irrational than like actually being irrational, or alternatively, more like believing you are inconsistent than like actually being inconsistent. Similarly, if you reject Attempted Revenge, you will be committed to rejecting that Attempted Revenge is rejectable. This is not inconsistent, either. It is like acting in a way without believing that acting in that way is rational. The paradoxical issues raised by Attempted Revenge are more like Moore s paradox than like outright inconsistency; accepting Attempted Revenge is like believing something and believing that you don t believe it, and rejecting Attempted Revenge is like believing something and not believing that you 17

18 believe it. The kind of incoherence this exhibits is interesting and important, but it is different in kind from the kind of incoherence you get into if you either accept or deny the original Liar sentence. Like other theories of truth, it is natural, when confronted with Attempted Revenge, to get into a hierarchy of responses. In addition to rejecting sentences which it would be inconsistent to accept or deny, perhaps the course of wisdom is also to reject sentences for which either accepting or denying them would lead you to accept that you are being irrational. Once we formulate that advice, of course, it will be possible to formulate new Attempted Revenge sentences such that accepting them involves believing that you believe yourself to be irrationally inconsistent. If that sounds bad (though of course it is not as bad as believing yourself to be rationally inconsistent or as actually being rationally inconsistent), new advice will be called for, to reject sentences which get you into such a predicament. This, I suppose, is a sort of hierarchy. Still, I believe that this sort of hierarchy is importantly different from other sorts of hierarchy. The categories of being rationally inconsistent, believing oneself to be rationally inconsistent, believing oneself to believe oneself to be rationally inconsistent, and so on, are categories that we already have and which are of independent importance, rather than being an infinite succession of new semantic categories made up special-purpose for dealing with the liar. 16 If this is the worst kind of revenge that this treatment of the liar leads to, it is a kind of revenge that we can learn to live with indeed, we had better learn to, because it is a problem that we have quite independently of the Liar One of the potential implications of Williamson s [2000] anti-luminosity argument, for example, is the importance of distinguishing among each of the categories in this hierarchy. 17 Special thanks also to Barry Lam, Mike McGlone, Nikolaj Jang Pederson and Cory Wright, Matti Eklund and Alexis Burgess, Jake Ross, Andrew Alwood, Billy Dunaway, and Scott Soames, and to an audience at the University of Michigan in October 2008, especially to Allan Gibbard, Jason Stanley, and Anthony Gillies. 18

19 references Avron, Arnon [1991]. Natural 3-Valued Logics Characterization and Proof Theory. The Journal of Symbolic Logic 56(1): Eklund, Matti [2002]. Inconsistent Languages. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64: Field, Hatry [2008]. Saving Truth from Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gibbard, Allan [2003]. Thinking How to Live. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Gupta, Anil [2005]. Do the Paradoxes Pose a Special Problem for Deflationism? In J.C. Beall and Bradley Armour-Garb, eds., Deflationism and Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Richard, Mark [2008]. When Truth Gives Out. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Schroeder, Mark [2008]. Being For: Evaluating the Semantic Program of Expressivism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tappenden, Jamie [1993]. The Liar and Sorites Paradoxes: Toward a Unified Treatment. Journal of Philosophy 90(11): Williamson, Timothy [2000]. Knowledge and Its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 19

1 expressivism, what. Mark Schroeder University of Southern California August 2, 2010

1 expressivism, what. Mark Schroeder University of Southern California August 2, 2010 Mark Schroeder University of Southern California August 2, 2010 hard cases for combining expressivism and deflationist truth: conditionals and epistemic modals forthcoming in a volume on deflationism and

More information

Paradox of Deniability

Paradox of Deniability 1 Paradox of Deniability Massimiliano Carrara FISPPA Department, University of Padua, Italy Peking University, Beijing - 6 November 2018 Introduction. The starting elements Suppose two speakers disagree

More information

Scott Soames: Understanding Truth

Scott Soames: Understanding Truth Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. LXV, No. 2, September 2002 Scott Soames: Understanding Truth MAlTHEW MCGRATH Texas A & M University Scott Soames has written a valuable book. It is unmatched

More information

Understanding Truth Scott Soames Précis Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Volume LXV, No. 2, 2002

Understanding Truth Scott Soames Précis Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Volume LXV, No. 2, 2002 1 Symposium on Understanding Truth By Scott Soames Précis Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Volume LXV, No. 2, 2002 2 Precis of Understanding Truth Scott Soames Understanding Truth aims to illuminate

More information

Intersubstitutivity Principles and the Generalization Function of Truth. Anil Gupta University of Pittsburgh. Shawn Standefer University of Melbourne

Intersubstitutivity Principles and the Generalization Function of Truth. Anil Gupta University of Pittsburgh. Shawn Standefer University of Melbourne Intersubstitutivity Principles and the Generalization Function of Truth Anil Gupta University of Pittsburgh Shawn Standefer University of Melbourne Abstract We offer a defense of one aspect of Paul Horwich

More information

A Liar Paradox. Richard G. Heck, Jr. Brown University

A Liar Paradox. Richard G. Heck, Jr. Brown University A Liar Paradox Richard G. Heck, Jr. Brown University It is widely supposed nowadays that, whatever the right theory of truth may be, it needs to satisfy a principle sometimes known as transparency : Any

More information

Generic truth and mixed conjunctions: some alternatives

Generic truth and mixed conjunctions: some alternatives Analysis Advance Access published June 15, 2009 Generic truth and mixed conjunctions: some alternatives AARON J. COTNOIR Christine Tappolet (2000) posed a problem for alethic pluralism: either deny the

More information

tempered expressivism for Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 8

tempered expressivism for Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 8 Mark Schroeder University of Southern California December 1, 2011 tempered expressivism for Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 8 This paper has two main goals. Its overarching goal, like that of some

More information

Comments on Truth at A World for Modal Propositions

Comments on Truth at A World for Modal Propositions Comments on Truth at A World for Modal Propositions Christopher Menzel Texas A&M University March 16, 2008 Since Arthur Prior first made us aware of the issue, a lot of philosophical thought has gone into

More information

Remarks on a Foundationalist Theory of Truth. Anil Gupta University of Pittsburgh

Remarks on a Foundationalist Theory of Truth. Anil Gupta University of Pittsburgh For Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Remarks on a Foundationalist Theory of Truth Anil Gupta University of Pittsburgh I Tim Maudlin s Truth and Paradox offers a theory of truth that arises from

More information

Can logical consequence be deflated?

Can logical consequence be deflated? Can logical consequence be deflated? Michael De University of Utrecht Department of Philosophy Utrecht, Netherlands mikejde@gmail.com in Insolubles and Consequences : essays in honour of Stephen Read,

More information

Noncognitivism in Ethics, by Mark Schroeder. London: Routledge, 251 pp.

Noncognitivism in Ethics, by Mark Schroeder. London: Routledge, 251 pp. Noncognitivism in Ethics, by Mark Schroeder. London: Routledge, 251 pp. Noncognitivism in Ethics is Mark Schroeder s third book in four years. That is very impressive. What is even more impressive is that

More information

What is the Frege/Russell Analysis of Quantification? Scott Soames

What is the Frege/Russell Analysis of Quantification? Scott Soames What is the Frege/Russell Analysis of Quantification? Scott Soames The Frege-Russell analysis of quantification was a fundamental advance in semantics and philosophical logic. Abstracting away from details

More information

Privilege in the Construction Industry. Shamik Dasgupta Draft of February 2018

Privilege in the Construction Industry. Shamik Dasgupta Draft of February 2018 Privilege in the Construction Industry Shamik Dasgupta Draft of February 2018 The idea that the world is structured that some things are built out of others has been at the forefront of recent metaphysics.

More information

Maudlin s Truth and Paradox Hartry Field

Maudlin s Truth and Paradox Hartry Field Maudlin s Truth and Paradox Hartry Field Tim Maudlin s Truth and Paradox is terrific. In some sense its solution to the paradoxes is familiar the book advocates an extension of what s called the Kripke-Feferman

More information

Horwich and the Liar

Horwich and the Liar Horwich and the Liar Sergi Oms Sardans Logos, University of Barcelona 1 Horwich defends an epistemic account of vagueness according to which vague predicates have sharp boundaries which we are not capable

More information

From Necessary Truth to Necessary Existence

From Necessary Truth to Necessary Existence Prequel for Section 4.2 of Defending the Correspondence Theory Published by PJP VII, 1 From Necessary Truth to Necessary Existence Abstract I introduce new details in an argument for necessarily existing

More information

ILLOCUTIONARY ORIGINS OF FAMILIAR LOGICAL OPERATORS

ILLOCUTIONARY ORIGINS OF FAMILIAR LOGICAL OPERATORS ILLOCUTIONARY ORIGINS OF FAMILIAR LOGICAL OPERATORS 1. ACTS OF USING LANGUAGE Illocutionary logic is the logic of speech acts, or language acts. Systems of illocutionary logic have both an ontological,

More information

Class #14: October 13 Gödel s Platonism

Class #14: October 13 Gödel s Platonism Philosophy 405: Knowledge, Truth and Mathematics Fall 2010 Hamilton College Russell Marcus Class #14: October 13 Gödel s Platonism I. The Continuum Hypothesis and Its Independence The continuum problem

More information

On A New Cosmological Argument

On A New Cosmological Argument On A New Cosmological Argument Richard Gale and Alexander Pruss A New Cosmological Argument, Religious Studies 35, 1999, pp.461 76 present a cosmological argument which they claim is an improvement over

More information

SAVING RELATIVISM FROM ITS SAVIOUR

SAVING RELATIVISM FROM ITS SAVIOUR CRÍTICA, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía Vol. XXXI, No. 91 (abril 1999): 91 103 SAVING RELATIVISM FROM ITS SAVIOUR MAX KÖLBEL Doctoral Programme in Cognitive Science Universität Hamburg In his paper

More information

Exercise Sets. KS Philosophical Logic: Modality, Conditionals Vagueness. Dirk Kindermann University of Graz July 2014

Exercise Sets. KS Philosophical Logic: Modality, Conditionals Vagueness. Dirk Kindermann University of Graz July 2014 Exercise Sets KS Philosophical Logic: Modality, Conditionals Vagueness Dirk Kindermann University of Graz July 2014 1 Exercise Set 1 Propositional and Predicate Logic 1. Use Definition 1.1 (Handout I Propositional

More information

Informalizing Formal Logic

Informalizing Formal Logic Informalizing Formal Logic Antonis Kakas Department of Computer Science, University of Cyprus, Cyprus antonis@ucy.ac.cy Abstract. This paper discusses how the basic notions of formal logic can be expressed

More information

UC Berkeley, Philosophy 142, Spring 2016

UC Berkeley, Philosophy 142, Spring 2016 Logical Consequence UC Berkeley, Philosophy 142, Spring 2016 John MacFarlane 1 Intuitive characterizations of consequence Modal: It is necessary (or apriori) that, if the premises are true, the conclusion

More information

Figure 1 Figure 2 U S S. non-p P P

Figure 1 Figure 2 U S S. non-p P P 1 Depicting negation in diagrammatic logic: legacy and prospects Fabien Schang, Amirouche Moktefi schang.fabien@voila.fr amirouche.moktefi@gersulp.u-strasbg.fr Abstract Here are considered the conditions

More information

Lecture 3. I argued in the previous lecture for a relationist solution to Frege's puzzle, one which

Lecture 3. I argued in the previous lecture for a relationist solution to Frege's puzzle, one which 1 Lecture 3 I argued in the previous lecture for a relationist solution to Frege's puzzle, one which posits a semantic difference between the pairs of names 'Cicero', 'Cicero' and 'Cicero', 'Tully' even

More information

Can Negation be Defined in Terms of Incompatibility?

Can Negation be Defined in Terms of Incompatibility? Can Negation be Defined in Terms of Incompatibility? Nils Kurbis 1 Abstract Every theory needs primitives. A primitive is a term that is not defined any further, but is used to define others. Thus primitives

More information

Theories of propositions

Theories of propositions Theories of propositions phil 93515 Jeff Speaks January 16, 2007 1 Commitment to propositions.......................... 1 2 A Fregean theory of reference.......................... 2 3 Three theories of

More information

finagling frege Mark Schroeder University of Southern California September 25, 2007

finagling frege Mark Schroeder University of Southern California September 25, 2007 Mark Schroeder University of Southern California September 25, 2007 finagling frege In his recent paper, Ecumenical Expressivism: Finessing Frege, Michael Ridge claims to show how to solve the famous Frege-Geach

More information

TWO VERSIONS OF HUME S LAW

TWO VERSIONS OF HUME S LAW DISCUSSION NOTE BY CAMPBELL BROWN JOURNAL OF ETHICS & SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY DISCUSSION NOTE MAY 2015 URL: WWW.JESP.ORG COPYRIGHT CAMPBELL BROWN 2015 Two Versions of Hume s Law MORAL CONCLUSIONS CANNOT VALIDLY

More information

Understanding Belief Reports. David Braun. In this paper, I defend a well-known theory of belief reports from an important objection.

Understanding Belief Reports. David Braun. In this paper, I defend a well-known theory of belief reports from an important objection. Appeared in Philosophical Review 105 (1998), pp. 555-595. Understanding Belief Reports David Braun In this paper, I defend a well-known theory of belief reports from an important objection. The theory

More information

Ayer on the criterion of verifiability

Ayer on the criterion of verifiability Ayer on the criterion of verifiability November 19, 2004 1 The critique of metaphysics............................. 1 2 Observation statements............................... 2 3 In principle verifiability...............................

More information

what makes reasons sufficient?

what makes reasons sufficient? Mark Schroeder University of Southern California August 2, 2010 what makes reasons sufficient? This paper addresses the question: what makes reasons sufficient? and offers the answer, being at least as

More information

xiv Truth Without Objectivity

xiv Truth Without Objectivity Introduction There is a certain approach to theorizing about language that is called truthconditional semantics. The underlying idea of truth-conditional semantics is often summarized as the idea that

More information

Quantificational logic and empty names

Quantificational logic and empty names Quantificational logic and empty names Andrew Bacon 26th of March 2013 1 A Puzzle For Classical Quantificational Theory Empty Names: Consider the sentence 1. There is something identical to Pegasus On

More information

An Inferentialist Conception of the A Priori. Ralph Wedgwood

An Inferentialist Conception of the A Priori. Ralph Wedgwood An Inferentialist Conception of the A Priori Ralph Wedgwood When philosophers explain the distinction between the a priori and the a posteriori, they usually characterize the a priori negatively, as involving

More information

Williams on Supervaluationism and Logical Revisionism

Williams on Supervaluationism and Logical Revisionism Williams on Supervaluationism and Logical Revisionism Nicholas K. Jones Non-citable draft: 26 02 2010. Final version appeared in: The Journal of Philosophy (2011) 108: 11: 633-641 Central to discussion

More information

THE FREGE-GEACH PROBLEM AND KALDERON S MORAL FICTIONALISM. Matti Eklund Cornell University

THE FREGE-GEACH PROBLEM AND KALDERON S MORAL FICTIONALISM. Matti Eklund Cornell University THE FREGE-GEACH PROBLEM AND KALDERON S MORAL FICTIONALISM Matti Eklund Cornell University [me72@cornell.edu] Penultimate draft. Final version forthcoming in Philosophical Quarterly I. INTRODUCTION In his

More information

Faults and Mathematical Disagreement

Faults and Mathematical Disagreement 45 Faults and Mathematical Disagreement María Ponte ILCLI. University of the Basque Country mariaponteazca@gmail.com Abstract: My aim in this paper is to analyse the notion of mathematical disagreements

More information

CRUCIAL TOPICS IN THE DEBATE ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF EXTERNAL REASONS

CRUCIAL TOPICS IN THE DEBATE ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF EXTERNAL REASONS CRUCIAL TOPICS IN THE DEBATE ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF EXTERNAL REASONS By MARANATHA JOY HAYES A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS

More information

Varieties of Apriority

Varieties of Apriority S E V E N T H E X C U R S U S Varieties of Apriority T he notions of a priori knowledge and justification play a central role in this work. There are many ways in which one can understand the a priori,

More information

Since Michael so neatly summarized his objections in the form of three questions, all I need to do now is to answer these questions.

Since Michael so neatly summarized his objections in the form of three questions, all I need to do now is to answer these questions. Replies to Michael Kremer Since Michael so neatly summarized his objections in the form of three questions, all I need to do now is to answer these questions. First, is existence really not essential by

More information

how expressivists can and should solve their problem with negation Noûs 42(4): Selected for inclusion in the 2008 Philosopher s Annual

how expressivists can and should solve their problem with negation Noûs 42(4): Selected for inclusion in the 2008 Philosopher s Annual Mark Schroeder University of Southern California August 18, 2006 how expressivists can and should solve their problem with negation Noûs 42(4): 573-599 Selected for inclusion in the 2008 Philosopher s

More information

Verificationism. PHIL September 27, 2011

Verificationism. PHIL September 27, 2011 Verificationism PHIL 83104 September 27, 2011 1. The critique of metaphysics... 1 2. Observation statements... 2 3. In principle verifiability... 3 4. Strong verifiability... 3 4.1. Conclusive verifiability

More information

Logic: A Brief Introduction. Ronald L. Hall, Stetson University

Logic: A Brief Introduction. Ronald L. Hall, Stetson University Logic: A Brief Introduction Ronald L. Hall, Stetson University 2012 CONTENTS Part I Critical Thinking Chapter 1 Basic Training 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Logic, Propositions and Arguments 1.3 Deduction and Induction

More information

higher-order attitudes, frege s abyss, and the truth in propositions

higher-order attitudes, frege s abyss, and the truth in propositions Mark Schroeder University of Southern California November 28, 2011 higher-order attitudes, frege s abyss, and the truth in propositions In nearly forty years of work, Simon Blackburn has done more than

More information

Supervaluationism and Fara s argument concerning higher-order vagueness

Supervaluationism and Fara s argument concerning higher-order vagueness Supervaluationism and Fara s argument concerning higher-order vagueness Pablo Cobreros pcobreros@unav.es January 26, 2011 There is an intuitive appeal to truth-value gaps in the case of vagueness. The

More information

THE INEXPRESSIBILITY OF TRUTH

THE INEXPRESSIBILITY OF TRUTH THE INEXPRESSIBILITY OF TRUTH By EMIL BĂDICI A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

More information

Can Negation be Defined in Terms of Incompatibility?

Can Negation be Defined in Terms of Incompatibility? Can Negation be Defined in Terms of Incompatibility? Nils Kurbis 1 Introduction Every theory needs primitives. A primitive is a term that is not defined any further, but is used to define others. Thus

More information

Semantic Pathology and the Open Pair

Semantic Pathology and the Open Pair Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. LXXI, No. 3, November 2005 Semantic Pathology and the Open Pair JAMES A. WOODBRIDGE University of Nevada, Las Vegas BRADLEY ARMOUR-GARB University at Albany,

More information

Foreknowledge, evil, and compatibility arguments

Foreknowledge, evil, and compatibility arguments Foreknowledge, evil, and compatibility arguments Jeff Speaks January 25, 2011 1 Warfield s argument for compatibilism................................ 1 2 Why the argument fails to show that free will and

More information

Study Guides. Chapter 1 - Basic Training

Study Guides. Chapter 1 - Basic Training Study Guides Chapter 1 - Basic Training Argument: A group of propositions is an argument when one or more of the propositions in the group is/are used to give evidence (or if you like, reasons, or grounds)

More information

THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL ARGUMENT AGAINST MATERIALISM AND ITS SEMANTIC PREMISE

THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL ARGUMENT AGAINST MATERIALISM AND ITS SEMANTIC PREMISE Diametros nr 29 (wrzesień 2011): 80-92 THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL ARGUMENT AGAINST MATERIALISM AND ITS SEMANTIC PREMISE Karol Polcyn 1. PRELIMINARIES Chalmers articulates his argument in terms of two-dimensional

More information

God of the gaps: a neglected reply to God s stone problem

God of the gaps: a neglected reply to God s stone problem God of the gaps: a neglected reply to God s stone problem Jc Beall & A. J. Cotnoir January 1, 2017 Traditional monotheism has long faced logical puzzles (omniscience, omnipotence, and more) [10, 11, 13,

More information

A Puzzle about Knowing Conditionals i. (final draft) Daniel Rothschild University College London. and. Levi Spectre The Open University of Israel

A Puzzle about Knowing Conditionals i. (final draft) Daniel Rothschild University College London. and. Levi Spectre The Open University of Israel A Puzzle about Knowing Conditionals i (final draft) Daniel Rothschild University College London and Levi Spectre The Open University of Israel Abstract: We present a puzzle about knowledge, probability

More information

Constructive Logic, Truth and Warranted Assertibility

Constructive Logic, Truth and Warranted Assertibility Constructive Logic, Truth and Warranted Assertibility Greg Restall Department of Philosophy Macquarie University Version of May 20, 2000....................................................................

More information

THE MEANING OF OUGHT. Ralph Wedgwood. What does the word ought mean? Strictly speaking, this is an empirical question, about the

THE MEANING OF OUGHT. Ralph Wedgwood. What does the word ought mean? Strictly speaking, this is an empirical question, about the THE MEANING OF OUGHT Ralph Wedgwood What does the word ought mean? Strictly speaking, this is an empirical question, about the meaning of a word in English. Such empirical semantic questions should ideally

More information

Comments on Lasersohn

Comments on Lasersohn Comments on Lasersohn John MacFarlane September 29, 2006 I ll begin by saying a bit about Lasersohn s framework for relativist semantics and how it compares to the one I ve been recommending. I ll focus

More information

NOT SO PROMISING AFTER ALL: EVALUATOR-RELATIVE TELEOLOGY AND COMMON-SENSE MORALITY

NOT SO PROMISING AFTER ALL: EVALUATOR-RELATIVE TELEOLOGY AND COMMON-SENSE MORALITY NOT SO PROMISING AFTER ALL: EVALUATOR-RELATIVE TELEOLOGY AND COMMON-SENSE MORALITY by MARK SCHROEDER Abstract: Douglas Portmore has recently argued in this journal for a promising result that combining

More information

Logic & Proofs. Chapter 3 Content. Sentential Logic Semantics. Contents: Studying this chapter will enable you to:

Logic & Proofs. Chapter 3 Content. Sentential Logic Semantics. Contents: Studying this chapter will enable you to: Sentential Logic Semantics Contents: Truth-Value Assignments and Truth-Functions Truth-Value Assignments Truth-Functions Introduction to the TruthLab Truth-Definition Logical Notions Truth-Trees Studying

More information

Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission.

Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. The Physical World Author(s): Barry Stroud Source: Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, Vol. 87 (1986-1987), pp. 263-277 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The Aristotelian

More information

In Defense of The Wide-Scope Instrumental Principle. Simon Rippon

In Defense of The Wide-Scope Instrumental Principle. Simon Rippon In Defense of The Wide-Scope Instrumental Principle Simon Rippon Suppose that people always have reason to take the means to the ends that they intend. 1 Then it would appear that people s intentions to

More information

Norm-Expressivism and the Frege-Geach Problem

Norm-Expressivism and the Frege-Geach Problem Norm-Expressivism and the Frege-Geach Problem I. INTRODUCTION Megan Blomfield M oral non-cognitivism 1 is the metaethical view that denies that moral statements are truth-apt. According to this position,

More information

Is phenomenal character out there in the world?

Is phenomenal character out there in the world? Is phenomenal character out there in the world? Jeff Speaks November 15, 2013 1. Standard representationalism... 2 1.1. Phenomenal properties 1.2. Experience and phenomenal character 1.3. Sensible properties

More information

Ayer and Quine on the a priori

Ayer and Quine on the a priori Ayer and Quine on the a priori November 23, 2004 1 The problem of a priori knowledge Ayer s book is a defense of a thoroughgoing empiricism, not only about what is required for a belief to be justified

More information

Buck-Passers Negative Thesis

Buck-Passers Negative Thesis Mark Schroeder November 27, 2006 University of Southern California Buck-Passers Negative Thesis [B]eing valuable is not a property that provides us with reasons. Rather, to call something valuable is to

More information

Postscript to Plenitude of Possible Structures (2016)

Postscript to Plenitude of Possible Structures (2016) Postscript to Plenitude of Possible Structures (2016) The principle of plenitude for possible structures (PPS) that I endorsed tells us what structures are instantiated at possible worlds, but not what

More information

Artificial Intelligence: Valid Arguments and Proof Systems. Prof. Deepak Khemani. Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Artificial Intelligence: Valid Arguments and Proof Systems. Prof. Deepak Khemani. Department of Computer Science and Engineering Artificial Intelligence: Valid Arguments and Proof Systems Prof. Deepak Khemani Department of Computer Science and Engineering Indian Institute of Technology, Madras Module 02 Lecture - 03 So in the last

More information

Attraction, Description, and the Desire-Satisfaction Theory of Welfare

Attraction, Description, and the Desire-Satisfaction Theory of Welfare Attraction, Description, and the Desire-Satisfaction Theory of Welfare The desire-satisfaction theory of welfare says that what is basically good for a subject what benefits him in the most fundamental,

More information

NOTES ON WILLIAMSON: CHAPTER 11 ASSERTION Constitutive Rules

NOTES ON WILLIAMSON: CHAPTER 11 ASSERTION Constitutive Rules NOTES ON WILLIAMSON: CHAPTER 11 ASSERTION 11.1 Constitutive Rules Chapter 11 is not a general scrutiny of all of the norms governing assertion. Assertions may be subject to many different norms. Some norms

More information

Truth At a World for Modal Propositions

Truth At a World for Modal Propositions Truth At a World for Modal Propositions 1 Introduction Existentialism is a thesis that concerns the ontological status of individual essences and singular propositions. Let us define an individual essence

More information

LOGICAL PLURALISM IS COMPATIBLE WITH MONISM ABOUT METAPHYSICAL MODALITY

LOGICAL PLURALISM IS COMPATIBLE WITH MONISM ABOUT METAPHYSICAL MODALITY LOGICAL PLURALISM IS COMPATIBLE WITH MONISM ABOUT METAPHYSICAL MODALITY Nicola Ciprotti and Luca Moretti Beall and Restall [2000], [2001] and [2006] advocate a comprehensive pluralist approach to logic,

More information

An alternative understanding of interpretations: Incompatibility Semantics

An alternative understanding of interpretations: Incompatibility Semantics An alternative understanding of interpretations: Incompatibility Semantics 1. In traditional (truth-theoretic) semantics, interpretations serve to specify when statements are true and when they are false.

More information

On possibly nonexistent propositions

On possibly nonexistent propositions On possibly nonexistent propositions Jeff Speaks January 25, 2011 abstract. Alvin Plantinga gave a reductio of the conjunction of the following three theses: Existentialism (the view that, e.g., the proposition

More information

6. Truth and Possible Worlds

6. Truth and Possible Worlds 6. Truth and Possible Worlds We have defined logical entailment, consistency, and the connectives,,, all in terms of belief. In view of the close connection between belief and truth, described in the first

More information

On Possibly Nonexistent Propositions

On Possibly Nonexistent Propositions Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. LXXXV No. 3, November 2012 Ó 2012 Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LLC On Possibly Nonexistent Propositions

More information

On Truth At Jeffrey C. King Rutgers University

On Truth At Jeffrey C. King Rutgers University On Truth At Jeffrey C. King Rutgers University I. Introduction A. At least some propositions exist contingently (Fine 1977, 1985) B. Given this, motivations for a notion of truth on which propositions

More information

A Model of Decidable Introspective Reasoning with Quantifying-In

A Model of Decidable Introspective Reasoning with Quantifying-In A Model of Decidable Introspective Reasoning with Quantifying-In Gerhard Lakemeyer* Institut fur Informatik III Universitat Bonn Romerstr. 164 W-5300 Bonn 1, Germany e-mail: gerhard@uran.informatik.uni-bonn,de

More information

Kantian Humility and Ontological Categories Sam Cowling University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Kantian Humility and Ontological Categories Sam Cowling University of Massachusetts, Amherst Kantian Humility and Ontological Categories Sam Cowling University of Massachusetts, Amherst [Forthcoming in Analysis. Penultimate Draft. Cite published version.] Kantian Humility holds that agents like

More information

Truth and the Unprovability of Consistency. Hartry Field

Truth and the Unprovability of Consistency. Hartry Field Truth and the Unprovability of Consistency Hartry Field Abstract: It might be thought that we could argue for the consistency of a mathematical theory T within T, by giving an inductive argument that all

More information

Instrumental reasoning* John Broome

Instrumental reasoning* John Broome Instrumental reasoning* John Broome For: Rationality, Rules and Structure, edited by Julian Nida-Rümelin and Wolfgang Spohn, Kluwer. * This paper was written while I was a visiting fellow at the Swedish

More information

Epistemic two-dimensionalism

Epistemic two-dimensionalism Epistemic two-dimensionalism phil 93507 Jeff Speaks December 1, 2009 1 Four puzzles.......................................... 1 2 Epistemic two-dimensionalism................................ 3 2.1 Two-dimensional

More information

(Some More) Vagueness

(Some More) Vagueness (Some More) Vagueness Otávio Bueno Department of Philosophy University of Miami Coral Gables, FL 33124 E-mail: otaviobueno@mac.com Three features of vague predicates: (a) borderline cases It is common

More information

Semantic defectiveness and the liar

Semantic defectiveness and the liar Philos Stud (2013) 164:845 863 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9915-6 Semantic defectiveness and the liar Bradley Armour-Garb James A. Woodbridge Published online: 8 April 2012 Ó Springer Science+Business Media

More information

Chadwick Prize Winner: Christian Michel THE LIAR PARADOX OUTSIDE-IN

Chadwick Prize Winner: Christian Michel THE LIAR PARADOX OUTSIDE-IN Chadwick Prize Winner: Christian Michel THE LIAR PARADOX OUTSIDE-IN To classify sentences like This proposition is false as having no truth value or as nonpropositions is generally considered as being

More information

Semantic Foundations for Deductive Methods

Semantic Foundations for Deductive Methods Semantic Foundations for Deductive Methods delineating the scope of deductive reason Roger Bishop Jones Abstract. The scope of deductive reason is considered. First a connection is discussed between the

More information

The normativity of content and the Frege point

The normativity of content and the Frege point The normativity of content and the Frege point Jeff Speaks March 26, 2008 In Assertion, Peter Geach wrote: A thought may have just the same content whether you assent to its truth or not; a proposition

More information

Leibniz, Principles, and Truth 1

Leibniz, Principles, and Truth 1 Leibniz, Principles, and Truth 1 Leibniz was a man of principles. 2 Throughout his writings, one finds repeated assertions that his view is developed according to certain fundamental principles. Attempting

More information

Satisfied or Exhaustified An Ambiguity Account of the Proviso Problem

Satisfied or Exhaustified An Ambiguity Account of the Proviso Problem Satisfied or Exhaustified An Ambiguity Account of the Proviso Problem Clemens Mayr 1 and Jacopo Romoli 2 1 ZAS 2 Ulster University The presuppositions inherited from the consequent of a conditional or

More information

part one MACROSTRUCTURE Cambridge University Press X - A Theory of Argument Mark Vorobej Excerpt More information

part one MACROSTRUCTURE Cambridge University Press X - A Theory of Argument Mark Vorobej Excerpt More information part one MACROSTRUCTURE 1 Arguments 1.1 Authors and Audiences An argument is a social activity, the goal of which is interpersonal rational persuasion. More precisely, we ll say that an argument occurs

More information

According to what Parsons (1984) has

According to what Parsons (1984) has AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY Volume 38, Number 2, April 2001 FREE ASSUMPTIONS AND THE LIAR PARADOX Patrick Greenough I. OVERVIEW According to what Parsons (1984) has dubbed the Standard Solution of

More information

MULTI-PEER DISAGREEMENT AND THE PREFACE PARADOX. Kenneth Boyce and Allan Hazlett

MULTI-PEER DISAGREEMENT AND THE PREFACE PARADOX. Kenneth Boyce and Allan Hazlett MULTI-PEER DISAGREEMENT AND THE PREFACE PARADOX Kenneth Boyce and Allan Hazlett Abstract The problem of multi-peer disagreement concerns the reasonable response to a situation in which you believe P1 Pn

More information

The Correspondence theory of truth Frank Hofmann

The Correspondence theory of truth Frank Hofmann 1. draft, July 2003 The Correspondence theory of truth Frank Hofmann 1 Introduction Ever since the works of Alfred Tarski and Frank Ramsey, two views on truth have seemed very attractive to many people.

More information

How Gödelian Ontological Arguments Fail

How Gödelian Ontological Arguments Fail How Gödelian Ontological Arguments Fail Matthew W. Parker Abstract. Ontological arguments like those of Gödel (1995) and Pruss (2009; 2012) rely on premises that initially seem plausible, but on closer

More information

Divine omniscience, timelessness, and the power to do otherwise

Divine omniscience, timelessness, and the power to do otherwise Religious Studies 42, 123 139 f 2006 Cambridge University Press doi:10.1017/s0034412506008250 Printed in the United Kingdom Divine omniscience, timelessness, and the power to do otherwise HUGH RICE Christ

More information

Understanding Deflationism

Understanding Deflationism 1 Understanding Deflationism by Scott Soames Philosophical Perspectives Volume 17, 2003 2 Understanding Deflationism Scott Soames A Deflationary Conception of Deflationism. My aim here will be to say what

More information

New Aristotelianism, Routledge, 2012), in which he expanded upon

New Aristotelianism, Routledge, 2012), in which he expanded upon Powers, Essentialism and Agency: A Reply to Alexander Bird Ruth Porter Groff, Saint Louis University AUB Conference, April 28-29, 2016 1. Here s the backstory. A couple of years ago my friend Alexander

More information

Externalism and a priori knowledge of the world: Why privileged access is not the issue Maria Lasonen-Aarnio

Externalism and a priori knowledge of the world: Why privileged access is not the issue Maria Lasonen-Aarnio Externalism and a priori knowledge of the world: Why privileged access is not the issue Maria Lasonen-Aarnio This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Lasonen-Aarnio, M. (2006), Externalism

More information

Deflationary Nominalism s Commitment to Meinongianism

Deflationary Nominalism s Commitment to Meinongianism Res Cogitans Volume 7 Issue 1 Article 8 6-24-2016 Deflationary Nominalism s Commitment to Meinongianism Anthony Nguyen Reed College Follow this and additional works at: http://commons.pacificu.edu/rescogitans

More information

WRIGHT ON BORDERLINE CASES AND BIVALENCE 1

WRIGHT ON BORDERLINE CASES AND BIVALENCE 1 WRIGHT ON BORDERLINE CASES AND BIVALENCE 1 HAMIDREZA MOHAMMADI Abstract. The aim of this paper is, firstly to explain Crispin Wright s quandary view of vagueness, his intuitionistic response to sorites

More information